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Starting CS w/ no experience

premed4premed4 Registered User Posts: 944 Member
edited July 2013 in Engineering Majors
I'm majoring in CS and applied math, but I have almost no CS experience. I never took a computer class or AP CS in high school. I have that the intro level CS course involves learning python, but all of the reviews for the class talk about how there's a huge knowledge gap between kids who have done it before, and kids who haven't. They talk about how it seems nearly impossible to catch up. Any advice on how/how much I can/should prep for it this summer?

Post edited by premed4 on

Replies to: Starting CS w/ no experience

  • photodadphotodad Registered User Posts: 457 Member
    You can do a free online course. For example, MIT Open Courseware Introduction to Computer Science and Programming, OCW Scholar version. (Google for "ocw 6.00sc" to find it.)

    Or you could buy a Python book, download Python to your computer, and work through the book. For example, "Learning Python," by Lutz and Ascher.
  • UWHuskyDadUWHuskyDad Registered User Posts: 279 Junior Member
    How much prep work you will need to do will depend on the intro class you plan to take.

    Your biggest challenge will be time management. Lower level CS classes tend to keep students very busy with programming exercises. Key thing is to not procrastinate when it comes to programming exercises. If you have no prior programming experience then you will feel a little behind tackling programming assignments compared to others but you don't have to worry too much about knowledge gap.

    One thing you can do to get a head start is to become familiar with the development environment - programming language, platform and tools you will be using in your intro class. Take a look at first few programming assignments given in that class during previous qtrs/semesters/years and see if you can get the tools installed and write your first "Hello world" program on your own.

    python is a wonderful language and there are plenty of resources online for someone with no prior programming experience.
  • GLOBALTRAVELERGLOBALTRAVELER Registered User Posts: 2,886 Senior Member
    This may also need to be the term that you may have to take slighly less than the average amount of credits for this semester, because of the time needed for your 1st CS programming course this fall.

    Instead of 15-16 credits, take 12-14 credits. That 3-credit general-ed course can be taken next summer.

    I am assumming that you will be starting with Calculus I, which is usually 4 semester credits. Your first CS course will probably also be 3-4 credits. That first English Composition course is usually a Freshman-Fall-Semester course, so you schedule could be:

    Calculus I.....4 credits
    CS Course....3-4 credits
    English Composition...3 credits
    Another Gen-Ed course....3-4 credits

    I would do that to give yourself more time for the CS course.
  • ChrisTKDChrisTKD Registered User Posts: 1,000 Senior Member
    None of the beginning engineering majors have any experience in engineering either but there everyone is pretty much in the same boat. The beginning CS courses will be a breeze for those with experience but remember that the beginning courses were designed for students like you, i.e., with little or no experience.

    The only question to ask yourself is why you are majoring in CS when arguably you weren't interested enough to take a class or learn some on your own in HS. I'm not trying to discourage you but to get you to do self analysis of your interests and motivation.

    Best of luck.
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